The dog’s growl woke her. Sharee lay still a moment, waiting, unsure. The low rumbling in the black lab’s throat sent a chill throughout her body. His bed was in the living area, and the sound came from that direction.
She slipped from under the covers and padded in silence to the door. Just as she reached it, the dog surged forward in a scrambling rush and threw himself against the living room’s sliding glass doors. The vertical blinds flew apart under his assault, and his vicious yapping jolted her.
Someone was out there.
The above is a snippet from my upcoming book, Splashdown. Although it’s fiction, in real life this is what dogs do. Their voices and bodies are used to protect us. Actually they do much more, they love and play and protect.
In putting animals into my stories, I’ve come to appreciate the qualities God has given them. Dogs have a unique ability to communicate with us—they wiggle, wag their tails, push against our legs, and lick our faces if we let them. Their voices, however, are used sparingly. Barking is reserved for important needs—like telling you danger is near or telling someone else to back away.
The Bible has much to say about our words and our voices. We can use them to explain things, to discuss what is funny or essential, to tell of our love or disappointment, to yell at football games, or to hurt and wound.
James tells us that the tongue is an unruly evil. I have to watch my tongue and my words so that I do not injure others. You see, I say things quickly, sometimes without thinking. I’ve hurt those I love without meaning to, and apologies don’t always help or take away the sting.
Maybe that’s why God is so emphatic when he says life and death are in the power of the tongue. Do you know children that think they never can do anything right because they’ve been told they can’t? They often grow up to be injured and insecure adults. (rem: exactly what Father has redeemed me from!)
Getting back to the dogs, their voices are used so often to warn us of danger—or occasionally just to tell us about the squirrel across the street. It’s nice to think that we could use of voices in much the same way—for things that are needed, that don’t hurt but actually help others.
I pray with the psalmist, “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.” PSALMS 19:14
Another use of our mouths, one which dogs cannot emulate, is to praise God, to thank him for his goodness. We can, like David, declare his name to others; we can worship him in the midst of the congregation.
In the story above, the dog, Cooper, runs off an intruder, later he chases away a snake that’s sunning on Sharee’s deck. When things calm down, Sharee kneels and puts her arms around the dog and says, “You’re a good dog, Cooper.”
Wouldn’t it be nice to have our Lord do something like that when we finally make it to heaven? “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
It’s what I’m striving for—but I need to work harder on my mouth, and the words that come from it before that time gets here. Maybe if I keep my eyes on the dogs I’ll learn a little more how it’s done.
Linda was born and raised in Florida. She and her husband live on the west coast of Florida. They have two grown sons. Her mother was a missionary to Israel and Indonesia, and her younger son has followed in those footsteps. He and his family are missionaries in Botswana, Africa. Her other son is a Physician’s Assistant at the National Institutes of Health.
Linda worked with as a Center Director for the Pregnancy Center of Pinellas County, and since, 2008, has been a speaker with the Tampa Bay area’s Community Campaign Against Human Trafficking (now called FREE). Her blog Writing for God, Fighting Human Trafficking can be found at https://lindarodante.wordpress.com/. Her author blog is at http://lindarodante.com/
Linda’s books have won finalist and semifinalist awards with the American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis and First Impressions Contests. Her romantic suspense series can be found on Amazon. http://amzn.to/1Uo6I0a
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